Parenting a child with ADHD can bring out the best and worst in a parent. No matter how patient and committed you are to helping your child’s recovery, the behavior of ADHD children triggers anger and frustration in moms and dads around the world. How do you keep yourself from blowing up at your child? Here are three tips that can help.
Maintain your perspective
Every parent has an anger button that’s all too easily pressed by their ADHD kids (and sometimes, their “normal” kids too). It’s normal to get angry every once in a while, but there are parents who are so anger-prone that everyone in the household scurries out of their way. Try controlling your anger using this exercise. First, divide your child’s misdeeds into two categories – the “small things”, which are tiny nuisances not worth getting angry about, and the “big things”, behaviors that hurt others, self, or household items and demand an immediate response.
Condition yourself to prevent the small things from getting to you. The next time your ADHD child knocks over a glass, try to tell yourself the following things. Keep saying them to yourself over and over until you’re conditioned to control your anger.
- I’m angry, but I can control my anger.
- Accidents happen.
- We can all learn something from this.
- I’m mad at the mistake, not at my child.
The next time a real life “small thing” happens, you can take a deep breath, stay calm, and plan a strategy. You’re still angry of course, but this anger is in control; instead of going into a rage, you can firmly lecture or point out the mistake. It takes some practice, but you’ll be able to better endure the annoying aspects of your child’s ADHD once your emotions are under control. Life with the kids becomes a little easier.
Use anger as your ally
When it’s kept in perspective, anger can be very helpful because it signals that there is something wrong. Use your anger to correct your child’s misbehaviors. For instance, parents of hyperactive ADHD kids are driven crazy when their little ones can’t stop running around the house. Instead of focusing on how much you hate the motion, try to identify what situations or objects trigger this behavior. Is it food? Is your child bored? Use your anger to learn creative ways of avoiding these triggers.
Beware of situations that trigger anger
Is your situation in life currently making you angry? Going through a divorce and losing a job are some examples of life situations that can make a person understandably mad. But realize that this situation makes it more difficult for you to tolerate your child’s behavior. Small things easily become big things. If the situation causes you to be angry, it might help to prepare your family and warn them that you may be upset from time to time. If you do lose your temper, apologize to your child, but expect similar apologies when he or she acts up.